VoteClimate: Jonathan Reynolds MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Jonathan Reynolds MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Jonathan Reynolds is the Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde.

At the next election Jonathan Reynolds is standing in the new Stalybridge and Hyde constituency.

We have identified 30 Parliamentary Votes Related to Climate since 2010 in which Jonathan Reynolds could have voted.

Jonathan Reynolds is rated Very Good for votes supporting action on climate. (Rating Methodology)

  • In favour of action on climate: 24
  • Against: 1
  • Did not vote: 5

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Jonathan Reynolds's Speeches In Parliament Related to Climate

We've found 35 Parliamentary debates in which Jonathan Reynolds has spoken about climate-related matters.

Here are the relevant sections of their speeches.

  • 23 Jan 2024: Protecting Steel in the UK


    That this House recognises the need to decarbonise steel production; appreciates the pride that local communities have in their historic steelworks; regrets that the Government has pushed through plans for decarbonising steel in the UK which will result in thousands of steelworkers losing their jobs and risk leaving the UK as the first developed country in the world without the capacity to produce primary steel; further regrets that the Government has failed to produce an industrial strategy which could have included a plan for the whole steel sector; believes that primary steel is a sovereign capability and is therefore concerned about the impact that the Government’s plans could have on national security; also believes that steel production can have a bright future in the UK; therefore calls on the Government to work with industry and workers to achieve a transition that secures jobs and primary steelmaking for decades to come; and further calls on the Secretary of State for Business and Trade to report to Parliament by 27 February 2024 with an assessment of the impact on the UK of the loss of primary steel production capabilities.

    Labour has secured this debate today because this is a hugely important issue. It is important not just because the future of the Port Talbot steelworks is integral to communities across south Wales—I know that many hon. Friends will be making that case passionately—but because it speaks to a much bigger challenge that we face as a country: how to decarbonise heavy industry in a way that is effective for our climate objectives and fair for our communities.

    The Opposition believe that the Government’s push to decarbonise the steelworks at both Port Talbot and Scunthorpe, in a way that guarantees large job losses and has no support from the workforce or unions, risks irrevocably damaging working people’s trust in the opportunities the net zero transition could bring. We believe that it is a calamitous mistake for the UK to become, under the Conservatives, the first major economy in the world without the ability to make our own primary steel.

    Decades of underinvestment and managed decline have devastated our steel industry, as the news from Port Talbot painfully brings home, but as the Unite the union’s workers’ plan for steel sets out, with the right Government action this crucial industry can still be saved. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government must invest in UK steel, transitioning Britain’s remaining blast furnaces to fully decarbonised steel production, saving thousands of skilled jobs and putting Britain at the heart of clean, green steel production?

    I agree with that case. That is why this is such an important issue for Parliament to consider. I always acknowledge that there are parts of it that are difficult. Decarbonising industry is an urgent priority, but in some cases the technology is uncertain or expensive. It is my contention, however, that getting it right is more important than doing it quickly or necessarily at the cheapest cost. To state the obvious, we can decarbonise anything by shutting it down. The cheapest path will likely always involve outsourcing most of our industrial production to other places. If we do that—it is the Government’s plan for Port Talbot—we will spend millions of pounds, and we will see huge job losses and global emissions rise as we effectively offshore our emissions and then claim that is progress. That would be a fundamental political mistake with potentially enormous ramifications for the future of the transition to net zero. We should know that from our own past.

    The decision of this Conservative Government to hand over half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to make thousands of people redundant is quite simply a bad deal. It is a bad deal for workers, a bad deal for taxpayers and a bad deal for the future of our industrial sovereign capability. Worse than that, it sends a message that decarbonisation effectively means deindustrialisation. I put it to Conservative colleagues that if net zero becomes a zero-sum game for working people, that risks the very support that we need to achieve the transition. There must be public consent for the transition, and that requires our economy to benefit from better jobs and better opportunities. This is the real politics of getting net zero right: it is not imaginary meat taxes or made-up claims about seven bins but whether the transition is just and fair and delivers something for Britain’s workers. The Government’s plans so far are simply none of those things.

    The race to decarbonise is a race for jobs and prosperity, and this could be a hugely significant time for steel. As the Minister knows, I have many criticisms of Government policy, and I believe that we have weak business investment, weak productivity and weak growth as a result. I recognise that the Port Talbot site is in a challenging financial position, but the Government have already recognised that uncompetitive energy prices need tackling. We have procurement rules in place that are seeing significant steel content from the UK in infrastructure projects, and we are getting close to carbon border adjustment mechanisms both here and in the EU, which will be a major development. CBAMs in particular will likely completely change the economics of the UK steel industry. There is no reason to believe that the UK cannot have a vibrant steel sector, so to make this irreversible decision now, when the policy background is clearly improving, seems odd indeed. Better options are on the table; anyone claiming otherwise is simply being disingenuous.

    It does not have to be this way. We cannot afford to blow this opportunity, repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and leave regional inequality entrenched—we can still see those scars. That is why I always say that, under Labour, decarbonisation will never mean deindustrialisation. I want green steel, and I believe that the workforce are our greatest asset in delivering that. Any real plan for green steel must cover the whole industry. It must be open to all technology that is available, and it should fundamentally be a story of new jobs, new opportunities, new exports and renewed British economic strength, rather than outsourcing our emissions and pretending that that is progress.


  • 23 Nov 2023: Autumn Statement Resolutions


    Take HS2, which is a national embarrassment: billions of pounds wasted, businesses let down, regeneration plans lost, and a flagship Government policy that goes overnight when Parliament is not even sitting and is unable to ask the most basic of questions by way of scrutiny. Or take the phasing out of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030. There was a major announcement on the headline date, one not made at the request of business, that hugely undermines investment certainty, but without a corresponding change to the rest of the policy environment—the zero-emission vehicle mandate—that leads up to 2030. Therefore they lose the certainty and credibility of keeping the target, but do not gain any flexibility from moving it either. Businesses say to me time and again that they cannot rely on a word any Conservative Minister says, and they are right. What businesses need is a real industrial strategy that gives them certainty and co-ordination. They need real commitments on planning, to get Britain building again. They need politicians who are willing to say, “We need new homes and infrastructure, and we are willing to commit our political capital to deliver it.” They need reform of the apprenticeship levy, so that they have more flexibility over skills and training. They need a better trade and co-operation agreement with the European Union than the one we have at present.


  • 9 Nov 2023: Making Britain a Clean Energy Superpower


    As we heard the Gracious Speech, we realised that the Government’s programme is not only incredibly thin, but completely incoherent. It was a speech that promised record investment in renewable energy, just weeks after the Prime Minister abandoned climate leadership and dropped key targets for the transition. It was a speech that promised a more competitive Britain, without acknowledging the huge increase in red tape facing so many of our exporters, for which this Government are responsible. It was a speech that promised long-term decisions, just days after the country’s flagship long-term infrastructure project was cancelled. Most of all, it was a speech that offered no change, despite the Prime Minister himself saying that after 13 years of Conservative Government, change is essential. On that score, he is surely right. This Conservative Government over the last 13 years have been one of the least successful in British history, and now we know that this latest Prime Minister will fail on his own terms, because he is only offering more of the same.

    I admire the Prime Minister’s candour about his own party’s record over the past 13 years. Our public realm is literally crumbling, we have the lowest business investment in the G7, we have had over a decade of poor economic growth, people are struggling to pay their bills, we are not getting the basics right—we are short of houses and infrastructure—and we face big and complex challenges like net zero and charting a course to a prosperous post-Brexit future. All those things require the very best of Government. We need a Government who come to this House with urgency and passion, courage and ambition; a Government who want to work with industry and workers to get the transition right; a Government who will put the interests of working people ahead of the hobby-horses of their own Back Benchers; and Ministers with vision, drive and determination. But that is not this Government, and it never will be.

    The subject of today’s debate is making Britain a clean energy superpower, and Britain could and should be that clean energy superpower. We are entering an age that will be dominated by offshore wind, solar, nuclear and carbon capture, and we have several competitive advantages that should make us the envy of the world. We genuinely have the potential to do things that no other country could do, but that is not going to happen by accident. We need to deploy political and economic capital to make it happen. The Climate Change Committee says that there is a policy gap that amounts to a fifth of the emissions that need to be reduced to meet the 2030 target, yet I think only one Conservative MP even mentioned that in the debate.

    Many of my Opposition colleagues made excellent speeches, which I want to reference. My hon. Friend the Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner) lamented that the UK is no longer showing leadership on this issue. He talked about the need to decarbonise buildings and pointed out correctly that the Government’s retreat on energy efficiency standards for domestic properties, particularly in the private rented sector, will cost people money. That was one of the most glaring points where the Prime Minister got it wrong in his speech.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham East (Nadia Whittome) talked about how the King’s Speech was completely incongruous with the reality of the problems that the UK faces, and about how the energy and net zero agenda is fundamentally an opportunity—on that she is surely right.


  • 18 Sep 2023: Tata Steel: Port Talbot


    I know the Minister will come back to say that more jobs were at risk. I have heard the Government’s line that all the jobs would have gone entirely, but she must be honest: it is absurd even to countenance the UK being the first major economy not to have a domestic steel industry. The UK steel sector is already much diminished compared with when the Conservatives came to power. The transition to green steel should be about more jobs, not less. It should be an optimistic, exciting moment for steel communities, but instead this has caused anxiety and anguish. I say genuinely to Government Ministers and to all on the Conservative Benches that if they allow decarbonisation to become associated with Thatcher-style job losses, it will risk the legitimacy and political support for net zero in a way that courts disaster. Is levelling up not a tacit admission by the Conservative party that the scars of the 1980s deindustrialisation cut so deep that we still feel them today?

    The plan that Labour put forward for green steel was industry-wide, comprehensive and transformative, and it was designed to secure major economic dividends for the UK. We cannot secure the future of UK steelmaking with sticking plasters. We cannot do it on a plant-by-plant basis, and we cannot do it without the workforce behind us. This should have been such a positive announcement. It should have been about creating jobs, strengthening national capabilities and showing that we can do decarbonisation in a way that works for working people. I say to every single steelworker out there that it is clear that they will only get the bright future that they know is out there when they get a Labour Government.

    “This is a really important day for our steel sector in the UK, with the Government showing a real commitment to the future of steel making here in the UK. We will get a true transformation of our sector to create steel for the net-zero economy, something which our customers are asking us for. We have the ability to completely transform our sector and boost the net-zero economy in the UK. We can really seize the opportunity to increase production in the UK and increase exports. We all know that a net-zero economy will need more steel, not less.”

    More importantly, the hon. Member knows that the blast furnaces were at the end of their life. The right decision is to provide certainty, security and continuity, and that is exactly what we are doing. The UK is a world leader in producing steel, but we need to decarbonise, and this is the best way of ensuring and guaranteeing jobs, of which there are 8,000 on the site and 12,000 in the supply chain.

    We know that we need to decarbonise, but with this level of taxpayer investment we should be looking at proper, green, virgin steel manufacturing and job creation, not the loss of 3,000 jobs, and not settling for lower-grade steel production from recycling. What will the lower-grade steel production mean for Port Talbot’s ability to supply key UK infrastructure programmes? What UK-based supply chain guarantees are being sought for the £1.25 billion of investment that the Government say is coming forward into the plant? Why were the unions not involved in the discussions? Why were the Welsh Government not involved? Is it not hypocritical to propose to involve the Welsh Government in the taskforce for job losses but not to have included them in the initial discussions on options for the plant going forward?

    When all is said and done, the purpose of the deal should have been to protect the current order book and to prepare us for the opportunities of the future. All investment is welcome— I do thank the Minister for her work in this area—but I am afraid that the deal will fail to keep us competitive and to deliver a just transition for the thousands of my constituents whose dedication to our proud steel industry is second to none.

    Three thousand job losses at Tata Steel will be a huge blow to Wales. Just as happened under Thatcher, our industrial communities are being forced to pay the highest price, and it is being paid by those who can least afford it. This news comes just weeks after the Minister’s Government failed to attract funding for offshore wind in the Celtic sea. The Tories have had more than 13 years in which to put in place a proper industrial strategy maximising Wales’s green energy potential with a just transition from fossil fuel dependency, and with workers’ futures at its heart. Is the Minister proud that her party’s time in power will, once again, leave a toxic legacy in Wales?

    It is unfortunate that the right hon. Member has taken such a narrow view. We are providing £500 million to ensure that the plant will continue to make steel, and to support the jobs in the industry. There are 8,000 direct jobs and 12,000 jobs in the supply chains which would disappear if there were no steel plant in Port Talbot. I should have thought that the right hon. Member, who has been so passionate about net zero, would appreciate the work that is being done in this regard. There is no alternative energy source that can deliver net zero, at scale or within the timetable that is required, given the infrastructure that is in place.

    In case the right hon. Member thinks that it is just the Conservatives who are saying this, I invite her to read what UK Steel has said about this decision. It has said that this is a really important day for the steel sector in the UK, and that the Government are showing a real commitment to the future of steelmaking here. It is not just a question of our ambitions for net zero; the UK steel sector itself has put together a road map to net zero, which this investment will enable it to reach.

    We have seen years of inaction on steel from this Government while watching other countries around the world invest proactively, but the investment announced on Friday will lead to potential job losses that will be deeply felt in Port Talbot and across south Wales. Why was there no consultation with the unions and the Welsh Government, who should surely have had a voice in ensuring that there is a fair transition to decarbonisation? What will the Minister do to provide clarity for workers about, for instance, the impact on downstream plants such as Llanwern, and to address the point about the grades of steel needed?

    The hon. Lady also mentioned the unions. They were in Westminster recently, attending a huge event co-hosted by our fantastic iron lady, or rather steel lady, my hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe (Holly Mumby-Croft), as well as UK Steel. There was a presentation of the procurement policy note, but also a discussion about the road map to net zero. This is a route that was identified, and it is one that we have now taken to ensure the longevity of steelmaking in Port Talbot.

    The answer is no. Under this deal we have protected jobs and ensured that we will continue to have a steelmaking facility in Port Talbot that supports the diversity in the supply chain. We also realise how uniquely important the blast furnaces in Scunthorpe are. We have talked about looking at hydrogen, but as I mentioned, it is untested at this scale to work within the timeframe that is needed. This deal is really good news for the UK steel sector, enabling it and us to reach our decarbonisation targets and ensuring that we are dealing not with virgin steel but with scrap steel in a way that can be recycled within UK industry. It ensures the longevity of the steel sector in Port Talbot.

    No matter what gloss is put on this today, 3,000 jobs have been sacrificed on the Government’s altar of net zero and decarbonisation. There can be no hiding from the fact that there are huge costs associated with this policy, and that they are becoming apparent week after week. Despite what the Opposition spokesperson said, the fact is that job losses are associated with this policy. We have seen it with steel, aluminium, oil and gas—we could go on and on. Will the Minister not accept that, as a result of this policy, we now have strategic industries under threat, we are losing jobs, we are putting greater pressure on taxpayers, we are pushing production overseas and we are making ourselves dependent on foreign producers?

    The reality is that any transition is going to impact jobs, which is why it is so important to ensure that support is available to enable people to skill up and transition. That is why the transition board has been set up with £100 million to help people on that journey. It is not fundamentally about achieving net zero; it is fundamentally about the age of the furnaces on the site, about the loss-making in the steel sector in the UK, particularly at this site, and about what decisions the company would take next. It was important for us to support the UK steel sector and provide it with £500 million—it has an overall envelope of £1.25 billion—to ensure that steelmaking continues in Port Talbot.

    I would have hoped to hear a rather more robust defence from the Minister of the need to reach net zero and of the massive job opportunities that will come from pursuing a green agenda, as we have seen from what is happening with the Inflation Reduction Act in the States.


  • 20 Jul 2023: Tata Group Gigafactory Investment


    Finally, can I ask the Minister about industrial energy prices? So much of the transition to net zero requires more competitive industrial prices than the UK currently has. We know that has been and is a material factor in the deal, so can the Minister say whether a precedent has now been set that will have consequences for other sectors, such as steel, if deals are struck for their decarbonisation? In conclusion, I repeat my welcome of this announcement. I welcome the Government’s conversion to Labour’s way of thinking. I hope it is a sign of many more good things to come.

    Tata’s investment is so substantial. It is 40% of the gigawatts that we need, and fundamentally we need to have 100% by 2030. With Tata and Envision, we are two thirds of the way there. Obviously we want more, but we are not going to be complacent. We should not compare ourselves with the rest of Europe when their needs will be substantially different from ours, but let us take a moment to reflect on what is happening internationally. This is a global race to achieve net zero. Tata has decided to come here to the UK because it has faith in UK workers, UK technology and UK innovation. It has confidence in the UK supply chain, but fundamentally it has confidence in the UK Government’s policy when it comes to advanced manufacturing and the automotive sector.

    Let me turn to the zero-emission vehicle mandate. I have taken many a delegation to the Department for Transport, which is responsible for this bit of policy, and I am keen to back business. The consultation has concluded and results will come through, and we will continue to work with the DFT. My position has always been to back the automotive sector. The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde does not seem to appreciate how substantial the investment is. We should be focused on the £4 billion, the 4,000 jobs and the resilience in the supply chain—the 2,500 small firms across most of our constituencies that will be getting some support because of this fantastic confidence in the UK car and automotive sector, and fundamentally in UK policy when it comes to advanced manufacturing.

    I thank the Minister for her statement and early sight of it. I agree that battery manufacturing capacity is important as part of our move towards EVs, away from petrol and diesel vehicles, and towards all our targets to achieve net zero. It would be remiss of me not to mention that a few years ago, as I am sure the Minister recalls, Dundee was given the “most EV visionary city in Europe” award by the World Electric Vehicle Association in Japan.

    The hon. Member is absolutely right that Huddersfield is a great place. We are not complacent: if the right opportunity, investment and partnership is put forward, we will of course consider that. We want to make sure that we continue to grow our gigafactory capacity. I knew that the hon. Member was going to touch on hydrogen, which he talks about often. The work we are doing with the ATF is not just about electric vehicles but about how we adopt all new functioning technologies to get to the first stage of zero emissions, and then to the next stage and so on. There are opportunities for hydrogen projects to come forward. Just a few weeks ago I visited a major construction project where not only the vehicles on site building and developing the port and the infrastructure were going to be hydrogen, but the vehicles moving on and off the site were to be well. Hydrogen is very much in our sights too.

    Brit European sounds like one of the firms I need to meet. No doubt my hon. Friend will invite me to visit, and I look forward to meeting the firm with her. She is absolutely right: this is a huge vote of confidence in our ability to adopt new technologies to achieve net zero. It is not just about finding and securing new sources of critical minerals; we are at the leading edge of battery recycling too. The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre will help us to stay at the forefront of recycling.

    My constituents are desperate to embrace the transition to electric vehicles, whether cars, vans or buses, but electric cars remain far too expensive, and the charging infrastructure barely exists—and where it does exist, it is not reliable. Although investment is welcome, we need a consistent strategy. If the Government are serious about reaching net zero, I urge the Minister to look again at reintroducing incentives to take up electric vehicles. Will she consider giving local authorities a statutory responsibility to roll out, with pandemic-style urgency, the EV charging infra- structure that we so desperately need?

    I too welcome the announcement—I genuinely do—but we are miles behind European competitors. Some of that is Brexit-related, but mainly it is due to the lack of an industrial strategy, which is even more important in the net zero-related sectors. This Government are miles behind right across the EV sector; other countries are ramping up incentives, but this Government are slashing them. As a result, sales are plateauing. The charging network outside London is a postcode lottery, with some places a charging desert. Scotland had a strategy from day one. That is why we have twice as many rapid chargers per head than even London. When will the Government treat this issue with appropriate urgency?

    Of course this new gigafactory announcement is very welcome, but it has taken time. How will it impact the industrial energy price? The Minister has not answered that question and we know that that price is a barrier to decarbonisation and that addressing it will ensure the transition to net zero and lower energy bills, which needs to be prioritised across all sectors and industries in our transition.

    As a result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and high energy prices, we introduced substantial programmes to give energy-intensive firms the support that they needed. The next phase of that is the energy supercharger, which—as the hon. Lady will know—the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero has been talking about. We know that energy prices will fall in the near future, and that there will be a change in the mix of energy costs.

    I thank the Minister for making such a positive statement. Everyone was enthralled by the announcement that Tata is to invest £4 billion in an electric car battery manufacturing site in Somerset, which is wonderful news for commerce and jobs in the UK, not to mention our contributions to the commitment made at COP26 and COP27, but can the Minister tell us whether sites outside England will be considered in the future? It is said that four battery factories are needed. Has the Minister considered, or is she considering, Northern Ireland as one of those locations, with the aim of boosting commerce in all regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? I am committed to that aim, and I know that the Minister is. It is good to know that we can all gain advantage from this.


  • 12 Jul 2023: Automotive Industry


    I agree with part of what the hon. Gentleman has said. I agree about the whole-system analysis: many parts of the decarbonisation journey that industry will need to take on will be a much bigger question than simply unplugging one form of old fossil fuel technology and plugging in another. For instance, the steel industry will have to think about scrap if it is to make the conversion to electric arc furnaces; and if we are to move towards synthetic fuels, we will clearly have to look at where the feed stocks are coming from.

    However, one of the most defining features of the past 13 years—I say this without any kind of partisanship—has been a series of very ambitious targets from this Government in areas that relate to decarbonisation, but with no real means to deliver them. That target is then pulled away, and confidence in the British state to decarbonise falls apart. I am thinking particularly about the famous “cut the green crap” comments from the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, regarding home insulation. When we talk about changing existing Government policy, we should not underestimate just how little confidence the international business community has in this Government’s promises at times. Broadly, the approach has been very ambitious targets but with no means to actually deliver them, which undermines the case.

    My hon. Friend is making a very effective speech. As he is talking about targets, will he come on to the roll-out of charging points? My constituency has three motorways in it and incredibly high levels of pollution. We need to remove all the barriers, both to net zero and to reducing that pollution. Does my hon. Friend agree that constituencies in the north such as mine need that situation addressed? It is shameful that, as I understand it, more chargers were installed in Westminster this year than across the whole of the north of England. We in the north have those issues of pollution, and we need to move faster in addressing them. My hon. Friend may be planning to come on to that point, but it is an important one.

    We know that a breakthrough is needed, and we would use our plans to make Brexit work to ensure that the rules of origin work for British manufacturers. We cannot achieve a compromise without working with our partners in Europe, and I believe that only Labour can be that good-faith partner. Our plan to invest in battery capacity, alongside compromises on the rules of origin, is the sensible way forward to meet our climate objectives and trade obligations and retain our industrial base.

    We will make the UK a clean energy superpower by 2030, with net zero carbon electricity lowering costs for the UK car industry by no longer leaving UK industry prone to the volatility of international gas prices, alongside better grid connections and planning reform to ensure that “made in Britain” does not become a thing of the past. That is the prospectus for action we need. Right now, this country needs some optimism. The mantra of this Government—that this is as good as it gets—is as depressing as it is wrong.


  • 16 Mar 2023: Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation


    As we have heard, this Budget has come at a time of profound importance for the country. Many Members have said that too many of their constituents are not just struggling to afford the little things that make life worth living, but finding it a stretch to afford the basics. We see every public service squeezed to breaking point. Frankly, very little in this country is working as it should. At the same time, there is an urgent need to proceed with net zero, and win the prize of the jobs and industries that will sustain our economy for generations to come. Acknowledging these challenges is not talking Britain down; it is facing reality head-on.

    Crucially, the Budget comes at a time when we can no longer put off the major decisions on net zero, because our competitors are pulling ahead. The Inflation Reduction Act in the United States and the Net-Zero Industry Act in the EU have radically affected the relative competitiveness of the UK, which is a point that my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) made particularly well. When it comes to climate change and the chance to reindustrialise parts of Britain, we are presented with the fierce urgency of now.

    At the top of that list is that Labour believes that this country needs an industrial strategy, one that is not about picking winners; an industrial strategy means having a plan to keep Britain competitive in the global race. This Government have a curious mix of big state, top-down targets and a kind of total libertarianism in how to deliver them. For example, it is Government policy to force residential and commercial property to meet higher standards in just four years’ time or be removed from the market; to decarbonise home heating; and to phase out petrol and diesel vehicle sales in just seven years’ time. But the Government are not on track to meet any of those targets because there is no plan to deliver any of them. Just to retain our existing automotive industry we will need 10 battery gigafactories, but we have one. Germany has 10 times that capacity, and every day we fall further behind, more jobs and industries go elsewhere.


  • 25 Nov 2022: Electricity and Gas Transmission (Compensation) Bill


    The right hon. Member gave a detailed account of how these matters have affected his constituents. He was right to say that the proposals are of national significance. That is because the debate comes at a time when this country faces several converging emergencies: the energy bills crisis is impacting deeply on millions of families and businesses across the country, the energy security crisis has been exposed by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and, of course, on the climate crisis, the UN tells us that we are on course for 2.8° C of catastrophic global warming.

    Those crises all call for a sprint to renewable and nuclear energy. That is why the Labour party has set out our plans to make Britain a clean-energy superpower by 2030. I think we all agree that that is also the best way to keep energy bills low, tackle the climate emergency and create good jobs for the future. Achieving that mission is not just about building more kit—more nuclear plants, wind turbines or solar panels—but about establishing storage capacity to manage peaks in energy demand, new ways of balancing the grid and, most of all, very comprehensive improvements to our electricity infrastructure to expand the grid to new sources of energy. That is why the Bill is particularly relevant and important.

    We need more clarity, leadership and direction from the Government. We do not need a Prime Minister who has to be dragged to COP27, an Environment Secretary who opposes solar energy or, frankly, a windfall tax that gives enormous, untargeted tax breaks for fossil fuel investment. Taking these matters seriously, and taking seriously the concerns that Members have articulated today, is essential, because achieving this is not just about new electricity or gas generation but about planning reform, new contracts for difference and the regulatory environment. The Bill sheds light on how we can bring local people on that journey.


  • 25 Oct 2022: Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill


    The hon. Member makes a very good point. Unfortunately, we know that the Government do not like independent assessment of their choices. They believe that they can simultaneously deliver the promises made on net zero and bring back fracking. Some independent verification would be very welcome indeed.


  • 18 May 2022: Achieving Economic Growth


    In contrast, our position is that our economy can and must do better. We believe that the UK needs greater investment in net zero. We believe that we need a real reform agenda on such things as business rates. We believe that we need a modern industrial strategy that provides a route for every business and worker in this country to fulfil their true potential.


  • 11 Jan 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    There was a lot of talk from the Secretary of State, but no answer. However, let us take up the point that he made. Earlier, one of his Ministers gave me an answer about UK steel production. The Secretary of State talks about net zero, but that cannot be achieved by exporting UK industry and jobs. We have pledged £3 billion of investment in steel, which would match fund pilots in hydrogen in place of coal and joint fund investment in electric arc furnaces. Domestic steel is essential to net zero; it is relevant to levelling up because it provides the jobs and the wages in many parts of the country; and it relates to Brexit because our producers now pay higher tariffs than companies in the EU to export to the US. Net zero, levelling up and Brexit amount to the Government’s entire agenda, so Secretary of State, again—


  • 11 Jan 2022: Reducing Costs for Businesses


    I am absolutely adamant that great British industries such as ceramics, glass and steel must have a future, but I recognise that that will not happen without political commitment. Many of us here are from places that take real pride in our industrial strength and heritage, and there has to be a future for these industries not least because, although their domestic carbon footprint is high, if we compare them with foreign competitors they are usually among the most efficient in their class. We cannot attempt to hit net zero simply by letting industry, emissions and jobs go overseas. That is why we have proposed a £600 million contingency fund to support energy-intensive industries, and we have laid out a plan for green steel, promising to fund pilot projects using hydrogen instead of coal for production and to joint-fund new equipment so the sector can grow.


  • 13 Dec 2021: Subsidy Control Bill


    I do not believe in corporate welfare; it is not the Government’s job to bail out firms that are not viable or to distort fair competition in markets. But I do believe that there is a huge role for the Government in partnering with industry to meet our national objectives, particularly on net zero. A good example of where that support is needed is our energy-intensive sector, which has a significant carbon footprint domestically but which compares favourably to the same industries in other countries when international comparisons are made. I want to see from the Government a coherent and effective strategy to use the powers in this Bill to support these industries because, without that, all we will do is offshore our emissions by making these sectors uncompetitive. At present, we have a Government who are willing to intervene, but whose approach is best described as completely scattergun. I know some Conservative Members are converts to economic intervention, but they have skipped the part where that intervention needs to be driven by purpose, rather than short-term political expediency. Michael Heseltine put it best when he said that the Government appear to have “no coherent approach” and the Prime Minister is just

    In many ways we will not be able to judge the success or not of this legislation until we have learnt more about how the Government intend to use it. Quite simply, the Government must do better. If they had taken our amendments, and those of other colleagues here today, on board, that would have substantially improved what we are being presented with on Third Reading. It would have given us greater transparency to show where public money is going and a commitment that any subsidies help the UK achieve the net zero targets, and ensured that the nations and regions have the powers they need to make the new regime a success. It is a real regret that those amendments are not part of the Bill, but I hope members in the other place will take these arguments up.


  • 4 Mar 2021: Income Tax (Charge)


    I wanted the Government to live up to their rhetoric and offer young people a real guarantee. Young people have suffered so much in the crisis, so let us take the action needed and make sure that no young person is out of work or education for longer than six months. We should promise young people an offer of education, employment or training and link those jobs and training to the challenges the country faces on social care, the NHS, schools and climate change. Time spent on furlough should count towards that limit, so that we do not see the long-term scarring that we know comes from periods of sustained economic inactivity. We could use the money already allocated to employment programmes. We could reform the apprenticeship levy to complement that and spend the money this year and next, when it will be most needed.


  • 7 Oct 2020: Pension Schemes Bill [Lords]


    All that brings me to the contents of the Bill. First, I want people to know that their pension savings—their assets—will directly contribute to the future they want for themselves and their family. I am immensely proud of the work that my Labour colleagues did in the other place—much of it behind the scenes—to put climate commitments for pension funds into UK legislation for the first time ever. This is not just lip service, but genuine commitments, formalising the requirements of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and enshrining a commitment towards the Paris agreement for trustees and managers of occupational pension schemes. That is fundamental to tackling the climate emergency, and it is a vital contributor to the health of pension funds. The long-term prospects of fossil fuel companies have implicit risks, and it is only right that those risks are taken into consideration as part of the financial responsibility that schemes have towards their members.

    The Bill also contains the blueprint for the pensions dashboard, one of the most long-awaited policy initiatives in history. We want to future-proof that dashboard, so that one day people can see in black and white an easily understandable measure that tells them how exposed to climate risk their retirement portfolio is. I know that the industry wants to make sure that we learn to walk before we start to run, and that the creation of the dashboard in itself is no small proposal, but I want us to be as ambitious as we can. Frankly, there is no time to waste when it comes to the climate emergency.


  • 4 Mar 2020: Flooding


    On mitigation of climate change and flood risk, the restoration of peatland is very important, and I know that the Government are committed to that. The burning of peatland by the grouse shooting industry is damaging, and businesses that counteract good measures have to be addressed. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is important to engage with industries that are counteracting climate emergency measures?


  • 9 Jan 2019: Draft Investment Allowance and Cluster Area Allowance (Relevant Income: Tariff Receipts) Regulations...


    Understandably, the Opposition are supportive of the economic contribution of the oil and gas sector and the jobs and tax revenue that it provides; as the Minister said, it is a major national asset. However, our constituents will be interested to know the Government’s rationale for offering a further tax break to the oil and gas sector at the time of transition to a low-carbon economy and when concerns about climate change are so acute. The Minister will be more than aware that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published in October 2018 showed that we have just 12 years left to make unprecedented changes to prevent global warming from increasing above 1.5°.

    People want to know what tax incentives are being promised to the renewable energy sector to encourage further infrastructure development in cleaner technologies. Fiscal policy is intrinsic to driving the transition to a greener, low-carbon economy. This change appears to be a move in the other direction, and I think that people would benefit from hearing from the Minister some of the rationale that lies behind it.


  • 19 Nov 2018: Finance (No. 3) Bill


    It is worrying that making provisions for collapsing out of the European emissions trading scheme and all the benefits and economies of scale that it brings is one of the scant mentions of green issues in this Finance Bill. Our exit from the European Union cannot be used as an excuse to take a step back from action on climate change, as was outlined starkly in the report published last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As I highlighted in my Second Reading speech last week, we are already lagging behind our European counterparts on green finance, as they are forging ahead with sovereign bond funds and mandatory climate disclosure laws. Our new clause would ensure that the Government were held accountable for making progress on reducing emissions, without using Brexit as an excuse to stall.


  • 12 Nov 2018: Finance (No. 3) Bill


    There was a lively exchange on the environment. I do not think it is unreasonable to say that, given the potential catastrophe we face—as outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published in October—this Finance Bill is unsatisfactory. I sat in Mansion House in June, listening to the Chancellor promise that the UK would be leading the way on green finance, but we have yet to see any tangible evidence of the Government’s intentions on the statute book. We are lagging behind our European counterparts, which already have mandatory climate disclosure laws, and those that have issued their own sovereign green bonds. This just does not seem to be a priority for the Government.


  • 14 Jul 2016: Oral Answers to Questions

    Does the Minister agree that scrapping the Department of Energy and Climate Change could only be taken as a signal that the new Government attach less significance to these important issues?


  • 24 Mar 2016: Oral Answers to Questions

    Since 2010, the Government have presided over a sharp reduction in the number of households receiving energy efficiency measures. Does the Secretary of State agree that meeting a net-zero emissions target will require a step change in the Government’s energy efficiency polices? If so, when might we see that?


  • 3 Feb 2016: Fuel Poverty


    Energy efficiency is the way that we can address climate change while keeping bills affordable, and of course it is far cheaper than any new generation that we could bring into the system. What does that mean? It means sorting out the simple stuff that needs to happen—cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, draft-proofing and modern windows. Energy companies are quite good at getting that out the door and into households, and they have gained considerable expertise in Government policy over the past few years. But energy efficiency also means addressing the very difficult stuff, such as solid wall insulation. Half of all fuel-poor homes in the UK require solid wall insulation, and a Government programme is required because it will never be economical for householders to make such large investments themselves.

    There should eventually be a degree of compulsion. Measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are effectively still free under Government programmes. Given our climate objectives, there has to be a point where we say to people, “If you want to move house, you’ve got to have these programmes in.” They are effectively free; it is just a matter of getting them out the door.


  • 18 Jan 2016: Energy Bill [Lords]


    It is true that there has been a set of long-standing opponents of wind energy in the Conservative party, and the industry might reasonably have been expected to anticipate that. I would say that there must be due regard to sunken costs, and amendments were made in the Lords that reflected the need to protect investor confidence, but they have been disregarded by the Government. For much of the time, especially when we talked about the price freeze proposed by Labour during the last Parliament, “investor confidence” were buzzwords for Conservative MPs. Frankly, in looking at such provisions, they seem to have deserted such a case. It must be acknowledged as factually true that if the cheapest form of renewable energy is scrapped, bills will increase. It is hypocritical to have one set of provisions for renewable energy and a completely separate set of provisions for fracking: if one set is good for one sector, it has to apply to all of them. That is the kind of inconsistency or incoherence that many people find frustrating.

    Having dealt with those two parts of the Bill, I cannot help but use the rest of my speech to lament the issues and the sectors that have been missed, and to lament the missed opportunity that the Bill represents. The first such issue, which my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook) mentioned, is energy efficiency. The Government’s record on energy efficiency is frankly abysmal. It has cost thousands of jobs, made fuel poverty worse, made bills worse and has hindered our ability to tackle climate change. Whatever form of generation people favour—there are cases for different forms and there is certainly a need for a mix covering almost everything—such generation will be expensive, and I would say that not getting the most efficient use of the energy we already have is a scandal. In our access talks when we were in opposition, we looked at all kinds of things—from short-term measures we could bring in to emergency legislation to extend some obligations on energy companies—because we are going to need the jobs we have lost if we are to have any hope of hitting our targets and keeping bills low.

    The second missed opportunity is carbon capture and storage technology, which, broadly, is essential to any of our plans. We know that it works, and the UK could be a world leader in it. Frankly, it is worth a punt: we should put some money into it. But we are all left wondering whether any financial support at all will be available from the Government for carbon capture and storage. This is not just about electricity, but a principal means by which we can decarbonise industry. It seems tragic for the Government to have retreated from that area.

    The last thing I want to mention is low-carbon heat. I try to get it into all debates, because if we are talking about hitting our targets or about trying to tackle climate change, heat is as important as electricity. Frankly, big political decisions need to be made during this Parliament if the UK is to make any progress whatsoever in this field. I still believe that we are nowhere near making such decisions, but we cannot wait much longer before starting that process.

    In conclusion, the Bill has many worthy provisions, but it does not feel in any way as if it tries to meet the challenges in the UK energy market today. There is a sense that that is no longer a priority for the Government, when it should be a major one, not just because of the international climate change agreement that we made in Paris, but because of jobs and energy security in the UK. The right policies are available—policies that would simultaneously cut bills, tackle fuel poverty and cut emissions. My hope is for a much greater level of ambition from this Government and subsequent Governments.


  • 25 Nov 2015: Clean Energy Investment


    In addition, no assessment of this country’s clean energy investment needs can be properly made without proper consideration being given to energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is the only way to decarbonise our electricity and heat supply while also making sure that bills are affordable. On that issue in particular, the record of both this Government and the last Government is absolutely appalling.

    I will say something specific about heat policy because frequently, and understandably, clean energy investment is devoted to conversations that are simply about electricity generation. However, heat policy is in many ways much more challenging—in fact, it is certainly more challenging— than electricity policy when we consider how we will meet our climate change targets while still giving people the security of supply that they need.

    That is because low carbon heat requires us to heat our homes in different ways, and we have to choose from three broad options. First, we can electrify the heat load, but that is very difficult to do because the seasonal demand for heat is so strong. Secondly, we can build heat networks in new-build, but again that is difficult to do because there is less consumer choice with that option and, frankly, to retrofit heat networks is very expensive indeed. Thirdly, we can stick broadly with what we have at the moment, which is the gas grid, but seek to decarbonise some of that gas through green gas, anaerobic digestion and other technologies, and we can also make our boilers even more efficient in the future.


  • 20 Oct 2015: Oral Answers to Questions

    At this rate, it will not matter who gets on the plane to Paris, because when they get there the UK will be a laughing stock as a result of this Government’s lack of commitment to tackling climate change. We are haemorrhaging jobs in the solar industry and in the insulation sector, and all because of a lack of Government policy. How can Foreign Office Ministers do their job if we are not taking the right action at home?


  • 21 Jul 2015: Public Transport (Greater Manchester)


    Of course, the true test of a region’s public transport success is whether it manages to decrease the number of car journeys taken—something that Greater Manchester has not yet achieved. The benefits of this are obvious, not least in terms of emissions and air quality, about which, as the shadow climate change Minister, I care a great deal. We should want people to get out of their cars and on to public transport, both for leisure and for commuting purposes. Greater Manchester did attempt this in a rather crude way with a proposal to bring in a London-style congestion charge back in 2008. The proposal was put to the people of Greater Manchester, and to say that it was overwhelmingly rejected would be an understatement, with 79% of votes cast being against bringing it in. I always smile when we talk about the Scottish independence referendum and it is suggested that it is difficult to make the case for voting no. That was not our experience in Greater Manchester with the congestion charge proposal.


  • 25 Jun 2015: Oral Answers to Questions

    Will the Secretary of State give us her assessment of the importance of Britain’s membership of the EU to our achieving a successful outcome at the Paris climate change conference? Following on from what she has just said, is she keen to see Europe agree an even more ambitious reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than the 40% already announced?


    I welcome those words from the Secretary of State, but she did not appear to want to make the specific commitment to a 50% reduction in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. She will, of course, be aware that our domestic interim target of a 50% reduction by 2025 is already tougher, so does she not agree that it would be in our best interests, as well as those of the EU, to commit now to tougher action?


  • 17 Jun 2015: Bangladesh


    I want finally to make brief mention of climate change. Most people in this country who consider the challenges are aware that Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable. Today, there is a lobby of Parliament on climate change on the theme “Speak up for the love of”. Bangladesh produces 0.3% of global emissions, but it is one of the countries most at risk from rising sea levels. The Ganges delta has 230 rivers, and there are 160 million people living in an almost completely flat area one fifth the size of France. A sense of justice and equity, regardless of what side of the political divide we are on, will tell us that there is a need to do the right thing this year in this Parliament to tackle the situation.

    People often ask about the consequences of climate change, and they need to realise that it will affect not only countries such as Bangladesh, but the UK. It will create refugees and problems of food supply and food security. There will be huge knock-on effects for this country as people go to places where they have relatives, or that they have relationships with. That brings us back to the fundamental point that it is in our interest for UK parliamentarians to take the right steps for the UK’s national interest and for the world. I hope that we will do that throughout this Parliament.


  • 16 Jan 2015: Control of Offshore Wind Turbines Bill


    I recognise that the hon. Gentleman has a consistent record on this area of policy. He was one of just five Members who voted against the UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act 2008. As a result, I am not sure that we will find many areas of agreement on the specifics of the Bill, but I give credit to the hon. Gentleman in one regard: his Bill is, at least, brief. In little more than one page, he seeks to annihilate the UK’s world-leading offshore industry in its entirety—an industry with approximately 5 GW of capacity in operation or construction, with a further 3.2 GW awarded under early contracts for difference. The industry directly employs nearly 7,000 people and many more in its supply chain. It is fantastic to see in the Chamber today representatives from east Hull and from Delyn who have been able to articulate the benefits that the industry brings to their areas.

    The hon. Member for Christchurch is a strong supporter of nuclear power, as am I. Labour supports the construction of new nuclear power stations at Hinkley and elsewhere. Where the hon. Gentleman and, I am afraid, too many of his Conservative colleagues get it so badly wrong is that they do not appreciate or understand the need for an energy mix. That means new nuclear, carbon capture and storage technology and, fundamentally, renewables such as onshore and offshore wind as well as solar, wave and tidal. That is what we mean by a mix. We cannot meet our carbon reduction commitments or avert catastrophic climate change unless we follow the route to such a mix.

    Labour is committed to setting a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target—something that the industry has called for—in order to provide the long-term certainty that it needs. In that regard, the Bill is entirely contradictory. One of its clauses is, as we have heard, to limit the maximum height of wind turbines, yet the new generation of more efficient turbines coming on stream has been designed to maximise the energy yield in deeper waters. These turbines, such as the latest products from Vestas and Siemens, will certainly exceed the 100 metre height, with blades perhaps 75 to 80 metres long. These taller, more efficient turbines will help to drive down cost reduction, not to mention the benefit to the UK’s manufacturing investment. The Bill is pursuing two contradictory objectives in those two clauses.

    I understand that the hon. Member for Christchurch was one of more than 100 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister, demanding that the Government withdraw support for the UK’s onshore wind industry as well. In that regard, they were successful. The Conservatives have now proposed an effective moratorium for onshore wind, which is, of course, the cheapest large-scale form of renewable energy. Indeed, between June 2013 and September 2014, the Communities Secretary intervened in 50 onshore wind applications—projects that could have powered more than 250,000 homes.

    Thankfully, the Conservatives’ irrational dislike of clean energy is not supported in public opinion. According to their very own figures, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has noted that 74% of people support offshore wind, two thirds support onshore wind and a whopping 80% support further solar development. The hostility to green energy runs counter not only to our energy security needs, but to public opinion.

    One colleague who joined the hon. Member for Christchurch in the lonely No Lobby during the vote on the historic Climate Change Act 2008 was, of course, the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley), who made a final, desperate point of order just before the House divided. Although the House was passing the Climate Change Bill that evening—based, he said, on the supposition that the climate was getting warmer—he pointed out that it was snowing outside, even though it was October.

    This is not a debate about climate change, and nor would I wish unfairly to associate the words of the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden with those of the Member for Christchurch, but I think we can all agree that climate is different from weather. If we cannot, there is very little point in discussing the intricacies of how far turbines should be from land or what the right strike price is for offshore wind, nuclear or anything else.

    The fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided overwhelming and compelling scientific evidence that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity and that it will have disastrous consequences if urgent action is not taken to cut our carbon emissions and invest in mitigation.

    I am always willing to have a debate about offshore wind, about how we can get investment up and bring costs down. However, no debate centred on a Bill that would implement a de facto ban on offshore wind could, I think, be considered a serious one. Labour is focusing on how we can best navigate the energy trilemma that all economies face. Instead of a tax on clean energy, Labour is providing—through widely supported policies such as our 2030 power sector decarbonisation target—the certainty that is needed if we are to attract investment and bring costs down. Clean energy is crucial to our energy security. Labour is focusing on helping our clean energy industry to succeed, and ensuring that United Kingdom consumers are given a fair deal in respect of their secure, clean energy.


  • 3 Sep 2014: Energy Company Licence Revocation


    I am not quite sure where to begin when it comes to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies). Let me respectfully say to him on the issues of climate change—without going too far away from the motion—that the 10 warmest years on record are clearly those of recent times. People who express climate scepticism—I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not mind me saying this—are likely to be those who are relatively sceptical about the powers of big government. The hon. Gentleman probably does not believe that making direct state interventions is the way to solve the world’s problems. He mentioned the smart meter roll-out in that context. If we look at the countries involved in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—countries as diverse as Switzerland, China, Australia, Japan, the USA, India, Germany, Russia and Norway—is it possible or conceivable that the scientists from all those countries have got together and decided to hoax us in this grand fashion? I cannot believe that anyone with the hon. Gentleman’s scepticism would accept that position so readily.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Tom Blenkinsop) wonderfully highlighted some of the inconsistencies behind Government policy on quite a few issues. The right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr Redwood) and, indeed, the hon. Members for Monmouth and for Warrington South repeated what has become the siren call from the Tory right—perhaps soon to become the UKIP left—arguing that the pressure on energy prices is somehow related to the conversion to renewable energy. I am afraid that those claims do not add up. The Government’s figures on policies such as the renewable obligation cannot possibly explain the rise in energy bills that we have seen in recent years. Through such policies, we get safety in energy and obtain much greater energy security. What is more, renewable energy sources have nothing of the price volatility we see in international gas markets. As Dale Vince, the chief executive of Ecotricity, recently remarked,

    There is not a tension between the pursuit of affordability and the pursuit of decarbonised energy supplies—or, at least, there is not a problem that we cannot resolve. Yes, renewable energy is more expensive than, for instance, coal, on which the hon. Gentleman may be particularly keen, but surely that makes the transparency of our energy market more rather than less important. The need for us to ensure that there is a downward pressure on energy prices becomes more of an imperative when we are making that transition.


  • 25 Mar 2014: amendment of the law


    It would be wrong to think that the national Government do not have a role, but they should just do what they do best. To get our economy right, we need many institutions and real industrial strategies, not just side projects for BIS that do not have wider Government support. Renewable energy, for instance, particularly wind power, is a crucial part of the UK’s future and we have all welcomed the decision made by Siemens today. However, although DECC and BIS champion it, DCLG holds up every onshore wind power application it can get in the way of. It is pathetic.

    Finally, we need to orient our economy to the challenges of the future. I have very little interest in who the Prime Minister picks for his Cabinet, but I would simply say that we will not win the global race with people who have not yet got round to accepting that climate change exists.


  • 11 Mar 2014: Energy Company Obligation


    If the Committee on Climate Change wants us to do 200,000 solid-wall jobs a year, 25,000 a year is simply not good enough. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test hit the nail on the head when he said that if we look at the objectives, the key issue is that ECO was created to do that hard-to-treat work. The policy is constructed around starting to meet that challenge, yet mid-programme the Government have now changed the objectives, leaving us with a bit of a mess.


  • 4 Dec 2013: Energy Bill


    The Energy and Climate Change Committee made it clear that there has been very limited progress on some measures, such as solid wall insulation, to cut emissions from existing buildings and called for new approaches to increase uptake. I am sure that DECC disregarded all that advice this week. I hope that we will not be there doing that again.

    The hon. Member for Derby North clearly understands the enormous benefit of an approach to fuel poverty that is based on minimum energy-efficiency targets. What a shame that he no longer holds a shadow communities and local government position, and what a shame that the shadow energy and climate change team favours what seems to be a weaker and vaguer approach and has tabled its own amendment rather than supporting his.

    In recent weeks and months, many of my constituents have written to me to call for ambitious action on energy efficiency to tackle the scandal of cold homes. Many of them have moving personal stories to tell. Many of them have written about the Energy Bill Revolution campaign and the no-brainer of recycling the billions of carbon tax revenues received by the Treasury into a mass home energy efficiency scheme. Having clear fuel poverty and energy-efficiency objectives in primary legislation is a crucial first step to driving the nationwide housing upgrade that we need. Without such targets set in legislation, our constituents have no guarantee that this or any future Government will take the necessary action on fuel poverty.


  • 7 Nov 2013: Energy Prices, Profits and Poverty


    As ever, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Dorries, and it is a particular pleasure to be here today to discuss the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change’s report entitled “Energy Prices, Profits and Poverty”, and the responses to it.

    From our exchange at the Dispatch Box yesterday, it seems that the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker), and I have substantially different views on the performance of the Government’s flagship ECO scheme. I simply do not believe that the ECO is ambitious or effective enough to meet the fuel poverty challenge in this country. In answer to the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley), the chances are that the ECO’s cost will rise out of proportion to the success of the measures being delivered.


  • 25 Mar 2013: amendment of the law


    There are three issues I would like to address in the brief time available to me, the first of which is manufacturing. I agree entirely with my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) that this Government have done some good things in that regard. I am pleased that there are Members on both sides of the House who, like me, are passionate about manufacturing, a sector in which a fifth of my constituents still work. However, the Budget speech made no mention of the “march of the makers”, and it did not address the two main issues that still remain: that such businesses cannot borrow money when they need to; and that they feel that the Government do not give them sufficient strategic direction, be it on renewable energy, High Speed 2, aviation policy or anything else. I hope the Chancellor has had time to read the excellent report by the former director of the Institute of Directors, Sir George Cox, on short-termism in the UK economy. I hope he will take on board its main recommendation: that we need to develop a coherent and workable modern industrial strategy if we are to remain competitive. I agree with Government Members when they say we are in a global race, but at the moment we do not even have a map of the course.


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